More workplace restrictions and mortgage relief in Cuomo’s latest response to COVID-19

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a briefing on Coronavirus, reiterates what measures the state is taking. (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo)

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the new coronavirus numbers are not a sign of a faster spread of the illness, but simply more widespread testing. Even so, he announced Thursday further restrictions on workplaces across the Empire State.

On Wednesday, the governor restricted workplaces to only staff 50% of personnel at once, and now that has reduces further to only 25% of employees reporting to the workplace.

“We’ve been taking increasing steps on density reduction because the numbers have been increasing. Again this is driven by science and data … The numbers have gone up overnight, I’m going to increase the density control today. No more than 25% of people can be in the workforce,” Cuomo said. “That means 75% of the workforce must stay home.”

Another action Cuomo is putting into play will bring 90-day relief to homeowners undergoing financial hardship who will qualify for a freeze on mortgage payments.

“If you are not working, if you’re working only part time, we’re going to have the banks and financial institutions waive mortgage payments for you,” Cuomo said. “Waiving these payments will not have a negative affect on your credit report.”

There will also be a hold on late fees or online payment fees as well as postponements and suspensions of foreclosures, Cuomo said. Overdraft fees will also be waived.

There was no mention as whether or not any of these measures would apply to renters but there was a moratorium placed evictions just three days ago.

Total positive cases in the state as of Thursday morning at 4,152 with the addition of 1,769 new cases. About 2,469 of the total New York state cases are in the five boroughs.

Cuomo, however, warned the public not to sweat it.

The increase in confirmed cases, he suggested, does not necessarily represent new cases, but rather newly-discovered positives.

“We tested 7,500 people last night. Why are you seeing those numbers go up? Because we are taking more tests,” Cuomo added. “People see those numbers go up, they get nervous, they panic, ‘Oh look how many more people have the virus.’ That’s not how many more people have the virus. You’re just taking more tests so you’re finding new positives.”

To Cuomo, the most relevant number to look at the number of hospitalizations.

Only 777 out of 4,152 cases have required hospitalization, or about 19%, the Cuomo administration calculated.

Cuomo warned younger New Yorkers that continuing with Spring Break plans and other social activities may not be dangerous to those individuals, but it would not help with the spread and could result in vulnerable individuals contracting the virus; possibly killing them.

“We grow too soon old, too late smart,” Cuomo said , quoting his grandfather Andrea. “This is so unintelligent and dangerous.”

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